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What Happened to Nikolas Cassadine on GENERAL HOSPITAL


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Nikolas Cassadine has been through a lot of changes on GENERAL HOSPITAL over the years, so some might need or want a refresher on the character’s twisted history. Nikolas was introduced in 1996 with Tyler Christopher originating the character, and in 1999, Colton Scott took over. Christopher returned to the role in 2003 and played the character up until his exit in 2016, with actor Nick Stabile stepping in briefly to usher Nikolas off the canvas. There were also a handful of episodes in December of 2005 when Chris Beetem took over the role while Christopher underwent surgery on his broken arm. Although Nik was presumed dead, there was no body, and sure enough, he returned very much alive and played by Marcus Coloma beginning in October 2019! Although for an episode in September 2021, the role was briefly recast with actor Adam Huss, who returned again in November 2022 for a week-long stint. And when it was announced that Coloma would be exiting the soap in January 2023, Huss once again stepped in to replace him for Nik’s final episodes. Then, when Nikolas resurfaced, Huss was still playing the role and continues to appear on and off.

Nikolas first arrived in Port Charles as a teenager to donate his bone marrow to save his sister, Lulu Spencer. Although he and brother Lucky Spencer started off butting heads, the siblings eventually bonded. Nikolas’ world was turned upside down when he learned that his uncle, Stefan Cassadine, was really his father. He was able to lean on his mother, Laura Spencer, especially after Lucky was presumed dead.

A DNA test later proved that Nikolas’ father was actually Stavros Cassadine after all, and he learned that not only did Helena Cassadine have a very much alive Lucky hostage, but she had resurrected Stavros as well. Stavros died in a fight with Luke, and Laura fell into a catatonic state after the murder of Rick Webber. The tragedy brought Lulu, Lucky, and Nik closer together.

General Hospital Nikolas Stefan
Nikolas and Stefan are Cassadines through and through!Craig Sjodin/ABC

Although Nikolas dated Sarah Webber and Gia Campbell, his true love was Emily Quartermaine. They grew closer as she battled breast cancer, but on her death bed, Emily chose to marry her first love, Zander Smith. But when Emily went into remission, she had an affair with Nik that ended her marriage. Suffering amnesia in a car accident, Nikolas was taken in by Mary Bishop, a war widow who told him he was her husband, Connor Bishop. (The two men looked identical!) Emily found Nikolas and he regained his memories of her. Mary flipped out and went on a murder spree, ultimately dying in a shootout with police.

Helena tried to put a stop to Nikolas’ relationship with Emily so he threw his grandmother off a cliff! While Nik was on trial for her murder, Connor showed up very much alive and sought vengeance for Mary’s death by raping Emily on the orders of Helena, who was still alive. Emily couldn’t deal with the sight of Nikolas, who looked like her rapist, and that strained their marriage and sent Nik into the arms of Courtney Matthews.

When Courtney became pregnant, her husband, Jasper Jacks, tampered with the test results so he would appear to be the father, not Nikolas. Following the baby’s birth, Courtney died before she could tell Nikolas the truth, but after Robin revealed he was the father, Nikolas took custody of the boy and named him Spencer. He reconnected with Emily, and they teamed up to rescue Spencer when his nanny, Colleen, kidnapped him for Helena.

General Hospital Nikolas Emily
Nikolas and Emily’s romance had a tragic end.Ron Tom/ABC

Nikolas’ relationship with Emily came to an end when she fell victim to the Text Message Killer. He began having hallucinations of his late love and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Though it meant giving up the visions of Emily, he ultimately went through with the surgery to save his life. Later, Nikolas was shaken by the arrival of a con woman named Rebecca, who looked just like Emily. When Lucky began dating Rebecca, Elizabeth Webber found herself attracted to Nikolas. Although Lucky and Liz reconciled and became engaged, she had an affair with his brother. Discovering the betrayal, Lucky washed his hands of them both.

Elizabeth became pregnant, and though Lucky was the father, Helena switched the results so they named Nikolas as Aiden’s babydaddy. Although he mended his relationship with Lucky after his son, Jake, was killed in a hit-and-run, Nikolas was crushed by the revelation that he wasn’t Aiden’s father and attempted to run off with the boy. He reconsidered and returned Aiden to Liz and Lucky before leaving town in 2011.

Nikolas returned in 2013 to reveal that Stavros was alive and behind Lulu’s kidnapping. After failing to rekindle things with Liz, he struck up a relationship with Britt Westbourne. However, that came to an abrupt end when he learned that the baby she had given birth to was his nephew, since she’d stolen Lulu’s frozen embryo! When Nikolas discovered that Helena’s new henchman, Jake Doe, was really Jason Morgan, he kept the news a secret hoping to take over ELQ to rebuild Cassadine Industries. He began dating Hayden Barnes, who had been posing as Jake’s wife, but that got complicated when she threatened to reveal Jake’s true identity and Nik hired a hitman to kill her! Hayden survived and when she emerged from her coma, Nik brought her home with him to keep an eye on her.

General Hospital Nikolas Hayden
“You’ll marry me and you’ll like it!”Howard Wise/

After eloping to Vegas, Nikolas discovered Hayden was really Rachel Berlin and demanded a divorce, but she blackmailed him into staying married, revealing she knew he had her shot. Jason and Sam learned this as well, and used it to force Nikolas to give back ELQ. He then faked his own death to frame Hayden, and bumped into Ava Jerome in London. They were briefly kidnapped but escaped to Cassadine Island where they ran into Sam and Jason as well as the mysterious Theo Hart who turned out to be Nikolas’ uncle, Valentin Cassadine. He forced Nikolas to sign over the entire Cassadine estate to him and then shot him! Nikolas fell over a balcony to his presumed death. When Ava attempted to use a psychic to contact her late daughter in 2019, she also asked about Nikolas, but the seer was unable to reach his spirit on the other side. And that was because he was very much alive — as Ava found out when her masked stalker removed his disguise to reveal he was the Cassadine prince!

It was then revealed that Nikolas was working with Jax and Hayden to find the codicil to Helena’s will that would restore the Cassadine fortune to him and Spencer, taking it away from Valentin. Unfortunately, it was hidden in a painting of the matriarch that wound up in Ava’s hands! Pretending to be a ghost, Nikolas tormented Ava to learn the whereabouts of the portrait and used Jax to get his hands on it. (Nik had already run Hayden out of town by making her think her life was in danger from Valentin!)

GH Ava Nikolas wedding
It was more of a business arrangement than a marriage… at least at first!ABC

Ultimately, Nikolas agreed to marry Ava so she would hand over the codicil and Valentin was kicked out of the mansion. Nik’s family was happy he was still alive, but not that he’d stayed hidden until he could take down Valentin. Spencer, in particular, took the news hard. Franco Baldwin also wasn’t thrilled to learn of the past that Liz and Nik had together. Nikolas and Ava found themselves trapped in a marriage where neither could leave without giving up a fortune although they soon realized they had a lot in common and ultimately admitted their love for each other!

Nikolas decided to make it official and proposed to Ava properly to make their union real. Unfortunately, they began receiving creepy gifts from a stalker and as things escalated, Ava split up with him, fearing for her daughter’s safety. When Spencer returned to Port Charles, Nikolas soon suspected his son of being the stalker and set a trap but was proven wrong as Ava’s car was set on fire while Spencer was with him. Nikolas wanted to fight for his marriage but Ava took out a restraining order to keep him away from her and planned to leave the country until the stalker was found. Nikolas allowed Spencer and his new girlfriend, Esme Price, to move into Wyndemere with him, and was shocked when a guilty Spencer finally came clean about the stalking!

Nikolas was thrilled to be able to reunite with Ava, and supported her when she had his son arrested for his crimes He had to do a little damage control to keep Alexis and Shawn quiet about exposing his role in Hayden’s shooting, though he wondered if the newly-returned Victor Cassadine was behind Hayden’s mother’s death. Nikolas allowed Spencer to move back into Wyndemere and agreed to let Esme stay as well. Ava was furious that he was defending Esme, and called off their vow renewal. Nothing he said could convince Ava to change her mind, and then things got even worse as Esme manipulated him into a passionate kiss that led to the pair having sex!

GH Nikolas Esme
Esme manipulated Nikolas like a pro!ABC

Ava decided to fight for their marriage, but Nikolas wanted a divorce, claiming he wanted a clean break so they could remarry. After Esme blackmailed him, Nikolas finally told Ava about sleeping with Esme and when a fight between the two women ended with Esme going over the parapet, Nikolas made it look like she’d left town. Though he did tell Victor the truth. Ava demanded a divorce, but Nikolas refused. And any progress Nik had made with his son ended when Spencer overheard about him sleeping with Esme. 

When Ava was attacked by someone with a hook, Nikolas helped give Liz an alibi and was upset when Ava wouldn’t let him visit her in the hospital. Nikolas wasn’t ready to give up on their marriage and tried to prove his loyalty by allowing Ava to record his confession about Esme to use if she needed. Nikolas tried to resist Victor’s pressure to divorce Ava, but Victor threatened his life. He was later stunned to find a very much alive Esme breaking into the safe in Wyndemere and further shocked when she revealed she was pregnant with his baby! He agreed to help her, but lured her to an abandoned wing of the estate and locked her in a room… though he had trouble keeping her there!

When Elizabeth was assaulted by an escaping Esme during a trip to Spoon Island, she learned what Nikolas was up to and reluctantly found herself involved. When Victor got Spencer out of prison and brought him back to Wyndemere to live, Nikolas refused to let them stay, fearing Esme would be discovered. He signed divorce papers, and agreed to give Ava Wyndemere in the settlement. Esme managed to escape by leaping off the parapet, but Nikolas and Liz were relieved when she resurfaced and had amnesia!

GH Nikolas Liz Esme
Liz was a reluctant co-conspirator to Nikolas’ kidnapping of Esme.ABC

Nikolas brought Liz’s mom, Carolyn Webber, to Port Charles in the hopes of getting her to condition Esme the way she did Liz so she’d never remember, but the doctor refused. He also attempted to get Esme to sign away her parental rights, but Heather Webber stepped into kibosh that, too. When Spencer announced his intentions to take custody of Esme’s baby, he also revealed to his father that Ava had shared his confession with him to force his hand. Furious, Nikolas went to Wyndemere to confront Ava, and threatened to make it even by taking Avery away from her. But that was a step too far and Ava hit him over the head, killing him!

Ava enlisted the help of Austin Holt to help get rid of the body, however, the cops began searching Spoon Island before they could manage it! The pair worried when the police searched the tack house, but Nikolas’ body was nowhere to be found! Although Ava insisted to Austin that Nikolas had no heartbeat, it was then revealed that the Cassadine prince was hooked up to life support in a secret location and being watched over by Austin’s cousin, Mason!

It was soon revealed that Austin had been in on the scheme from the start and helped nurse Nikolas back to health in Pautauck. Feeling much better, Nikolas headed off to keep the Cassadine fortune from falling into Spencer’s hands. He made some transactions at a Swiss bank to help prove that he was still alive, but wasn’t quite ready to return to Port Charles yet.

GH Spencer gives Ace to Nikolas
Nikolas couldn’t convince Spencer to join him and Ace on the run.ABC

Nikolas finally made his way back to Port Charles on New Year’s Eve and revealed himself to Ava. He denied her accusations that he’d killed Austin and tormented her and asked for her help in taking down Esme. There was clearly a strong connection between the two even after everything. Nik then paid Spencer a visit and was overwhelmed to meet Ace for the first time. He asked his son to come away with him so they could all be together but Spencer declined, instead giving Ace to his father.

Nikolas then returned again in February 2024 with Ace and Laura convinced her son that a life on the run was no kind of life for a toddler. At her urging, Nik turned himself in and pled guilty to holding Esme against her will, being sent to Pentonville to serve out his sentence.

Stay tuned to see if he ever comes back to town!

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